Semantic Categories List A (Categorisation Mats)



This is a self-correcting pack containing a total of 42 flash cards and 7 mats to practise semantic categories (categorisation and labelling). This pack is for the younger child, or one with limited vocabulary or is nonverbal.

Semantic categorisation is like the holy grail of vocabulary-building!


A skilled speech therapist is able to use a semantic categorisation activity to build a child’s language skills in so many ways that if you had to just have 1 activity (just so you know…impossible), this would be it! That is how highly I think of this activity!

What are semantic categories?

These are classes that words/items belong to. Eg. a cup, spoon and plate belong to the group of words known as ‘utensils’, etc.

Teaching children semantic categories is absolutely crucial for various reasons;

  • It adds to their vocabulary
  • It helps them order the words they know more systematically and therefore use them more robustly (to understand, to describe, to explain, etc.)


If you imagine the brain is like a library, and the words one knows are like books… Semantic categorisation is the system by which you order your books (words) in the library (brain) for faster retrieval needed to understand (comprehension) what is said and needed to formulate what to say (expression).

Surprisingly, most children, and more specifically children with delayed language skills, have weak or underdeveloped semantic categorisation skills. They may be able to label (state the names) various nouns eg. cup, monkey, spoon, etc., but if you were to ask them to describe what they have labelled, name similar items as the one labelled or describe the item, most children would find it difficult!

This pack contains 7 basic semantic categories and beginning vocabulary to teach a child for each of the categories.

This pack is also self-correcting, meaning, a child is offered some clue during the categorisation activity, which helps reduce the level of complexity of the task. The picture at the top of each ‘mat’ provides the child with a clue as to what category the items being sorted belong to.

There are many ways of using semantic categories to grow a child’s language;

  • You can use the activity to target ‘categorisation’
  • You can use the activity to target ‘understanding
  • You can use the activity to target ‘labelling’ (vocabulary) skills

If you would like to rapidly grow your child’s language skills, this is where to start!

Find Out More / What We Offer